Duty Judicial Officer: Robert Stelzner SC
Player: Sef Faagase
Date of Incident: 27 March 2016
Nature of Offence: Law 10.4(a) Striking with knee
Elapsed time in match when offence occurred: 43rd minute
The SANZAAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC has accepted a guilty plea from Sef Faagase of the Reds for contravening Law 10.4(a) Striking with knee, after he was cited during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.
Faagase has been suspended from all forms of the game for one week.
Faagase made contact with his knee to the head of Waratahs #16 after a collapsed scrum in the 43rd minute of the match between the Reds v Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Sunday 27 March, 2016.
All SANZAAR disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to a Duty Judicial Officer hearing to provide the option of expediting the judicial process.
For a matter to be dispensed with at this hearing, the person appearing must plead guilty and accept the penalty offered by the DJO.
SANZAAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC assessed the case. In his finding, Stelzner ruled the following:
"After reviewing the video footage and Citing Commissioner's report, I heard from the player and his counsel Mark Martin QC. The player admitted that he had breached Law 10(4)(a) by striking his opponent with his knee. He denied that he had done so deliberately and explained that it had occurred when a scrum collapsed.
"I considered the incident, the submissions made by counsel and the explanation proffered by the player and formed the view that the video footage supported the player’s explanation. I considered the offending to be at the low end. I accepted the players admission that he did not intend to deliberately strike his opponent, the fact that there was no great force applied and the fact that his opponent was not injured as certain of the factors relevant to determining the level of seriousness of the offence. This carried a recommended entry level sanction of three weeks' suspension.
"I did not consider there to be any aggravating factors to take into account. The player’s admission, his show of remorse for the offending and his clean record entitled him to a 50% reduction in sanction, which would have resulted in a two week suspension if it were rounded up. The offending was however such that I considered two weeks to be wholly disproportionate with the level of offending. I accordingly applied a two week reduction to the recommended entry point sanction of three weeks. This resulted in a one week suspension being considered appropriate.
"The player accepted the offered sanction of 1 week, and is therefore suspended up to and including Saturday 2 April 2016.